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Press Release

April 23, 2008

PTC Puts Grand Theft Auto IV Retailers on Notice

Retailers Must Keep Adult-Themed Video Game Away from Children


LOS ANGELES (April 23, 2008) – With the next installment of the violently graphic Grand Theft Auto video game set to be released next week, the Parents Television Council™ called for retailers to keep the game away from children.


Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City, rated ‘M’ (Mature), is set for release April 29.  The Grand Theft Auto games include constant graphic violence and sexual situations. In past versions, players could re-enact having sex with a prostitute, beating her bloody, taking her money and running her over with a car; shooting at police officers; and, by using a code easily accessible on many internet sites, having a realistic sexual encounter on screen -- complete with audio commentary. This modification in the 2005 game was not disclosed to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) when they classified the game M, which carried a suggested age of 17 and up for purchase.


“This brutally violent video game must be kept out of the hands of children, and we are calling on all major retailers to reconsider any decisions to sell this game.  Since the first version was released in 1997, the Grand Theft Auto series has lowered the bar for graphic and grotesque video game content,” said PTC President Tim Winter.


“Despite this game’s current ‘M’ rating, we are adamant that the game’s publisher, Take-Two Interactive, and the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) actually review all playable content before issuing a rating for the game.  Given Take-Two Interactive’s reckless or intentional misleading of the ESRB, and ESRB’s failure to respond quickly in the aftermath of the ‘hot coffee’ mod fiasco stemming from the previous edition of Grand Theft Auto, retailers must be reassured, in writing, that the rating given the game is accurate and that there is no hidden or modifiable content in the game.


“If retailers go against parents’ wishes and sell the game, they should not market the game to children in any way, nor should they display the game where minors can see it.  In addition, retailers must enforce checking ID before selling the game to anyone.  Legally, stores cannot sell children pornographic magazines or handguns – but they can legally sell video games to children that contain pornographic content or that teach children how to kill.  This is wrong, and retailers should ensure that unaccompanied minors are prevented from purchasing Grand Theft Auto IV: Liberty City,” Winter said.


TAKE ACTION! Keep Grand Theft Auto IV Out of the Hands of Children


To speak with a representative from the Parents Television Council, please contact Kelly Oliver (ext. 140) or Megan Franko (ext. 148) at (703) 683-5004.

The Parents Television Council™ (www.parentstv.org®) is a non-partisan education organization advocating responsible entertainment. It was founded in 1995 to ensure that children are not constantly assaulted by sex, violence and profanity on television and in other media. This national grassroots organization has more than 1.3 million members across the United States, and works with television producers, broadcasters, networks and sponsors in an effort to stem the flow of harmful and negative messages targeted to children. The PTC also works with elected and appointed government officials to enforce broadcast decency standards. Most importantly, the PTC produces critical research and publications documenting the dramatic increase in sex, violence and profanity in entertainment. This information is provided free of charge so parents can make informed viewing choices for their own families.




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